Kids’ school and extracurricular schedules, new babies coming into the family, changes in the work place — they can all put a stress on our time management skills. Here are some tips to help you manage your time and enjoy your life as Mom.
Oh. my. word. The day starts, and I think I’ve got all the time in the world to tackle the tasks before me. But then I blink, and the day seems to have escaped my grasp. What have I done all day?! Where did the time go? What happened?!
Does that ever happen to you?
When I seem to be grasping at time like a drowning woman clinging to a floating yoga brick in a turbulent sea? That’s when I know I need to revisit and readjust my time management habits.
There just aren’t enough hours in a day. And just because we’re busy with ALL THE THINGS, that doesn’t mean we are managing our time well. In fact, I read a sentence recently from a time management book that seemed to just jump from the page. Essentially it said:
Just because you are doing a ton of stuff all day, every day, does NOT mean you are “with it”.
Being busy doesn’t mean we get an A in time management. In fact, busyness and a lack of margin probably signals that we need to take another look at what we’re doing.
Likewise, when we find ourselves at the end of a loose season, like school holidays or illnesses, we may find it hard to get motivated to do anything. Loafing doesn’t equal good time management either.
When I find that all routine has gone, that I’ve become flighty and dismissive of schedules, when I crave some order, when I’m feeling overburdened, that’s when I know it’s time to revisit and refresh my time management habits.
Here is what I do to manage my time better, especially after a crazy season, whether it’s too full or too blah. They’re not difficult things. They just take a little thinking power. I know they can work for you, too.
Time Management Tips for Moms who Want to Get With It
1. Get an organizational system in order.
Whether it’s an app that totally gets you or a personal planner that rocks your world, get an organizational system in order. If things have been crazy, it usually means I’ve gotten a little lax in consulting my planner.
I don’t have to wait for Back to School or New Year’s to get a fresh start. I just need a clean planning page!
My planner allows me space to think about changes I want to make, to make goals, and to refocus my priorities.
An organizational system helps me to know where I’m going.
2. Be realistic.
There are only so many hours in a day. You probably can’t do all the things that you hope to accomplish. And if you create a to do list that’s a mile long, you’ll be disappointed when you don’t get even half way through it.
Instead, set realistic goals for yourself. Consider what you can accomplish in a reasonable amount of time, but don’t push yourself to aggravation.
If you really want to shoot for the stars, put one extra thing marked “if time allows”, but don’t put too mush pressure on yourself.
My post-it note to-do list system helps keep my feet more or less on the ground.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! When my kids were very little, I did almost everything myself, from meal prep to housecleaning. Sure, there were fabulous seasons when a teen girl was willing to come help for cheap, but usually it was a one-woman show.
These days I’ve learned that it’s really okay not to do it all myself. I’ve got teachers to handle math, foreign language, and writing so I don’t have to, a husband who can ride herd on kids while I pay bills, and kids who can do their own laundry, cook, and clean the bathrooms.
What do you have to do? Like, what can no one else do?
What do you want to do?
Figure those two things out and then determine out how to share the load with others when you can’t get to everything.
And, sister, you can’t get to everything.
4. Accept imperfection.
I think we should all try as hard as our time and resources allow. But at some point we run out of something. There’s always more to do. When we get to the end of the run, then we need to be okay with it. Run the race as best you can and then accept that you probably didn’t do it perfectly.
Our expectations have a direct effect on our feelings of success or failure. If you want to be successful in managing your time and your life, then you — and I — need to have right expectations. We won’t do it perfectly. But, that’s okay. Showing up and trying matters tremendously.
What helps YOUR time management?
Originally published August 14, 2013. Updated March 3, 2018.